By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

MEXICO CITY, March 5, 2009 ( – The Mexican Supreme Court has announced a split decision on Mexico City’s abortion law which has the effect of allowing the states to continue to restrict abortion.

The decision was issued in response to a suit brought by the Mexican government against the capital city’s abortion law passed in 2007, which permits abortion on demand during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, and requires public hospitals to perform the deadly procedure.  The nation’s Human Rights commissioner argued that it violated the right to life enshrined in the Mexican Constitution, as well as international treaties.

Although Supreme Court ruled that the law was constitutional in an 8-3 vote, it was unclear if its written decision would rule, as abortion advocates wished, that there exists a “right” to first trimester abortions.  Some analysts anticipated that such a decision could strike down right-to-life constitutional amendments that are currently being passed at the state level.

However, the Supreme Court issued a split opinion on the case last Saturday.  While four justices claimed that killing the unborn is a “right”, four others said that it was simply a matter for the states to decide.  The remaining three issued an opinion dissenting from the verdict in the case and declaring that the Mexico City law is unconstitutional.

The decision, which leaves a minority of four Justices in favor of a constitutional “right” to abortion, indicates that recent constitutional amendments passed by the states of Baja California, Morelos, Colima, and Sonora, protecting the right to life from conception, are unlikely to be struck down by the Supreme Court as “unconstitutional”.  The Baja California amendment is currently being contested before the Court.

Previous LifeSiteNews coverage:

Pro-Abortion Forces Sue to Overturn State Pro-Life Amendment in Mexican Supreme Court

Majority on Mexican Supreme Court Endorse Constitutionality of Abortion Law

Pro-Abortion Case Falls Apart Days Before Mexican Supreme Court Ruling